Paul Auster

Born: February 3, 1947

Occupation: Author

Quotes of Paul Auster

Paul Auster

Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author's words reverberating...

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Paul Auster

To feel estranged from language is to lose your own body.

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Paul Auster

Every book is an image of solitude. It is a tangible object that one can pick up, put down, open, and close, and its words represent many months if not many years, of one man’s solitude, so that with...

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Paul Auster

Impossible, I realize, to enter another’s solitude. If it is true that we can ever come to know another human being, even to a small degree, it is only to the extent that he is willing to make himself...

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Paul Auster

For a man who finds life tolerable only by staying on the surface of himself, it is natural to be satisfied with offering no more than his surface to others. There are few demands to be met, and no commitment...

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Paul Auster

There is nothing more terrible, I learned, than having to face the objects of a dead man. Things are inert: that have meaning only in function of the life that makes use of them. When that life ends, the...

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Paul Auster

We find ourselves only by looking to what we’re not.

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Paul Auster

In the end, the art of hunger can be described as an existential art. It is a way of looking death in the face, and by death I mean death as we live it today: without God, without hope of salvation. Death...

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Paul Auster

Just think it, and chances are it will happen.

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Paul Auster

One should never underestimate the power of books.

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Paul Auster

It always stimulates me to discover new examples of my own prejudice and stupidity, to realize that I don't know half as much as I think I do.

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Paul Auster

Surely it is an odd way to spend your life - sitting alone in a room with a pen in your hand, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, struggling to put words on pieces of paper in order to give...

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Paul Auster

Dismantling the architecture of my discontent

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Paul Auster

it's a rare day when she speaks in anything but platitudes--all those exhausted phrases and hand-me-down ideas that cram the dump sites of contemporary wisdom

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Paul Auster

It's extremely difficult to get these jobs because you can't get a job on a ship unless you have seaman's paper's, and you can't get seaman's papers unless you have a job on a ship. There had to be a way...

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Paul Auster

All I wanted to do was write - at the time, poems, and prose, too. I guess my ambition was simply to make money however I could to keep myself going in some modest way, and I didn't need much, I was unmarried...

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Paul Auster

If you're not ready for everything, you're not ready for anything.

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Paul Auster

It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.

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Paul Auster

Everything can change at any moment, suddenly and forever.

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Paul Auster

There's hope for everyone. That's what makes the world go round.

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Paul Auster

You have to protect it too, you can't let just any stupid person take it and do something demoralizing with it. At the same time, I don't believe in being so rigid about controlling what happens either.

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Paul Auster

You see, the interesting thing about books, as opposed, say, to films, is that it's always just one person encountering the book, it's not an audience, it's one to one.

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Paul Auster

All through my writing life, I've had this impulse to write autobiographical works.

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Paul Auster

Chance is an element of life. What I try to do is study what I call the mechanics of reality as carefully as I can.

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Paul Auster

Changing your mind is probably one of the most beautiful things people can do. And I've changed my mind about a lot of things over the years.

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Paul Auster

Each book I've done somehow finds its own unique form, a specific way it has to be written, and once I find it, I stick with it.

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Paul Auster

Every generation always thinks it was better before, and I think people have been saying this for probably thousands of years.

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Paul Auster

For me, a paragraph in a novel is a bit like a line in a poem. It has its own shape, its own music, its own integrity.

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Paul Auster

For some reason, all my characters come to me with their names attached to them. I never have to search for the names.

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Paul Auster

Holes in the memory. You grab on to some things, others have completely disappeared.

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Paul Auster

I barely can go shopping for clothes. I find it difficult to walk into stores. The whole thing bores me so much.

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Paul Auster

I can never say 'why' about anything I do. I suppose I can say 'how' and 'when' and 'what.' But 'why' is impenetrable to me.

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Paul Auster

I guess the toughest things in translations are word play, which can never be reproduced exactly.

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Paul Auster

I like the sound a typewriter makes.

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Paul Auster

I never experiment with anything in my books. Experimentation means you don't know what you're doing.

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Paul Auster

I think I hate cynicism more than anything else. It's the curse of our age, and I want to avoid it at all costs.

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Paul Auster

I think if we didn't contradict ourselves, it would be awfully boring. It would be tedious to be alive.

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Paul Auster

I've learned not to look at reviews. Early on, I did. I was always curious.

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Paul Auster

Money's important. Everyone cares about money. And when you don't have money, money becomes the overriding obsession of your life.

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Paul Auster

People who don't like my work say that the connections seem too arbitrary. But that's how life is.

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Paul Auster

Some things get written more quickly than others, but I can't really measure degrees of difficulty.

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Paul Auster

Stories surge up out of nowhere, and if they feel compelling, you follow them. You let them unfold inside you and see where they are going to lead.

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Paul Auster

The most deeply personal of my works are the non-fiction works, the autobiographical works, because there, I'm talking about myself very directly.

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Paul Auster

There's love, and certainly children you care about more than yourself. But nevertheless, we're alone in our heads.

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Paul Auster

We are continually shaped by the forces of coincidence.

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Paul Auster

Writing makes you feel that there is a reason to go on living. If I couldn't write, I would stop breathing.

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Paul Auster

You can't put your feet on the ground until you've touched the sky.

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Paul Auster

We construct a narrative for ourselves, and that's the thread that we follow from one day to the next. People who disintegrate as personalities are the ones who lose that thread.

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Paul Auster

Even in New York, there are a lot of very attractive girls pedaling around. That just happens to be one of the nice sights in our city, seeing a young woman on a bike.

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Paul Auster

Films and television and even comic books are churning out vast quantities of fictional narratives, and the public continues to swallow them up with great passion. That is because human beings need stories.

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Paul Auster

I believe that the whole idea of the consumer society is tottering. We've kept ourselves going by producing more and more goods, most of which people don't need. I'm anti-consumerism; I own four pairs...

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Paul Auster

I don't think of myself as a metafictional writer at all. I think of myself as a classic writer, a realist writer, who tends to have flights of fancy at times, but nevertheless, my feet are mostly on the...

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Paul Auster

I guess I wanted to leave America for awhile. It wasn't that I wanted to become an expatriate, or just never come back, I needed some breathing room. I'd already been translating French poetry, I'd been...

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Paul Auster

I knew from the age of 16 that I wanted to be a writer because I just didn't think I could do anything else. So I read and read and wrote short stories and dreamed of escape.

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Paul Auster

I started out in life as a poet; I was only writing poetry all through my 20s. It wasn't until I was about 30 that I got serious about writing prose. While I was writing poems, I would often divert myself...

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Paul Auster

I was always interested in French poetry sort of as a sideline to my own work, I was translating contemporary French poets. That kind of spilled out into translation as a way to earn money, pay for food...

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Paul Auster

I write the paragraph, then I'm crossing out, changing words, trying to improve it. When it seems more or less OK, then I type it up because sometimes it's almost illegible, and if I wait, I might not...

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Paul Auster

I'm generous. I give good tips. It's just - the way I live my life, ironically enough, is: I don't want anything. I'm not a consumer. I don't crave objects.

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Paul Auster

Movies are not novels, and that's why, when filmmakers try to adapt novels, particularly long or complex novels, the result is almost always failure. It can't be done.

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Paul Auster

No book includes the entire world. It's limited. And so it doesn't seem like an aesthetic compromise to have to do that. There's so much other material to write about.

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Paul Auster

The book that convinced me I wanted to be a writer was 'Crime and Punishment'. I put the thing down after reading it in a fever over two or three days... I said, 'If this is what a book can be, then that...

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Paul Auster

The world is so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we're not. We are ruled by the forces of chance...

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Paul Auster

Those of us who can remember our childhoods will recall how ardently we relished the moment of the bedtime story, when our mother or father would sit down beside us in the semi-dark and read from a book...

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Paul Auster

We grow older, but we do not change. We become more sophisticated, but at bottom we continue to resemble our young selves, eager to listen to the next story and the next, and the next.

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Paul Auster

What used to keep me up at night was the fact that I didn't know how I was going to pay the rent. Now that I can pay the rent, I'm worrying about people I care about, you know, the people I love. The little...

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Paul Auster

He would conclude that nothing was real except chance.

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Paul Auster

That's all I've ever dreamed of, Mr. Bones. To make the world a better place. To bring some beauty to the drab humdrum corners of the soul. You can do it with a toaster, you can do it with a poem, you...

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Paul Auster

Writing is a solitary business. It takes over your life. In some sense, a writer has no life of his own. Even when he’s there, he’s not really there.

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Paul Auster

Our lives carry us along in ways we cannot control, and almost nothing stays with us. It dies when we do, and death is something that happens to us every day.

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Paul Auster

In the end, each life is no more than the sum of contingent facts, a chronicle of chance intersections, of flukes, of random events that divulge nothing but their own lack of purpose.

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Paul Auster

Stories without endings can do nothing but go on forever, and to be caught in one means that you must die before your part in it is played out.

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Paul Auster

In general, lives seem to veer abruptly from one thing to another, to jostle and bump, to squirm. A person heads in one direction, turns sharply in mid-course, stalls, drifts, starts up again. Nothing...

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Paul Auster

Libraries aren't in the real world, after all. They're places apart, sanctuaries of pure thought. In this way I can go on living on the moon for the rest of my life.

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Paul Auster

In other words: It seems to me that I will always be happy in the place where I am not. Or, more bluntly: Wherever I am not is the place where I am myself. Or else, taking the bull by the horns: Anywhere...

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Paul Auster

As my friend George Oppen once said to me about getting old: what a strange thing to happen to a little boy.

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Paul Auster

At that point, Noriko finally breaks down and begins to cry sobbing into her hands as the floodgates open - this young woman who has suffered in silence for so long, this good woman who refuse to believe...

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Paul Auster

We have missed him in the sunshine, in the storm, in the twilight, ever since.

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Paul Auster

Bodies count, of course - they count more than we're willing to admit - but we don't fall in love with bodies, we fall in love with each other. We all know that, but the moment we go beyond a catalogue...

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Paul Auster

I walk around the world like a ghost, and sometimes I question whether I even exist. Whether I've ever existed at all.

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Paul Auster

But lost chances are as much a part of life as chances taken, and a story cannot dwell on what might have been.

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Paul Auster

Nothing lasts, you see, not even the thoughts inside you. And you musn't waste your time looking for them. Once a thing is gone, that is the end of it.

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Paul Auster

In the good mystery there is nothing wasted, no sentence, no word that is not significant.

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Paul Auster

When I write, the story is always uppermost in my mind, and I feel that everything must be sacrificed to it. All elegant passages, all the curious details, all the so-called beautiful writing - if they...

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Paul Auster

I've dealt with numbers all my life, of course, and after a while you begin to feel that each number has a personality of its own. A twelve is very different from a thirteen, for example. Twelve is upright,...

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Paul Auster

Novels are fictions and therefore they tell lies, but through those lies every novelist attempts to tell the truth about the world.

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Paul Auster

Our lives don't really belong to us, you see -- they belong to the world, and in spite of our efforts to make sense of it, the world is a place beyond our understanding.

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Paul Auster

It's June second, he told himself. Try to remember that. This is New York, and tomorrow will be June third. If all goes well, the following day will be the fourth. But nothing is certain.

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Paul Auster

The real is always way ahead of what we can imagine.

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Paul Auster

Escaping into a film is not like escaping into a book. Books force you to give something back to them, to exercise your intelligence and imagination, where as you can watch a film-and even enjoy it-in...

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Paul Auster

As long as there's one person to believe it, there's no story that can't be true.

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Paul Auster

When every card in the deck is stacked against you, the only way to win a hand is to break the rules. You beg, borrow, and steal, as the old adage goes, and if you happen to get caught in the act, at least...

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Paul Auster

What matters is not how well you can avoid trouble, but how you cope with trouble when it comes.

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Paul Auster

The only person I knew how to be with now was myself - but I wasn´t really anyone, and I wasn´t really alive. I was just someone who pretended to be alive, a dead mean who spent his days translating...

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Paul Auster

He knew that his wings could ignite at any moment, but the closer he came to touching the fire, the more he sensed that he was fulfilling his destiny. As he put it in his journal that night: If I mean...

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Paul Auster

To care about words, to have a stake in what is written, to believe in the power of books - this overwhelms the rest, and beside it one's life becomes very small.

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Paul Auster

Every novel is an equal collaboration between the writer and the reader and it is the only place in the world where two strangers can meet on terms of absolute intimacy.

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Paul Auster

He slipped away slowly, withdrawing from this world by small, imperceptible degrees, and in the end it was as if he were a drop of water evaporating in the sun, shrinking and shrinking until at last he...

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Paul Auster

...once you fell in love with her, you loved her until the day you died.

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Paul Auster

Stories happen only to those who are able to tell them, someone once said. In the same way, perhaps, experiences present themselves only to those who are able to have them.

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Paul Auster

The pictures do not lie, but neither do they tell the whole story. They are merely a record of time passing, the outward evidence.

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Paul Auster

Betty died of a broken heart. Some people laugh when they hear that phrase, but that's because they don't know anything about the world. People die of broken hearts. It happens every day, and it will go...

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Paul Auster

For the first time in his life, he stopped worrying about results, and as a consequence the terms “success” and “failure” had suddenly lost their meaning for him. The true purpose of art was not...

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Paul Auster

Then, without any warning, we both straightened up, turned towards each other, and began to kiss. After that, it is difficult for me to speak of what happened. Such things have little to do with words,...

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Paul Auster

Translators are the shadow heroes of literature, the often forgotten instruments that make it possible for different cultures to talk to one another, who have enabled us to understand that we all, from...

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Paul Auster

You're too good for this world, and because of that the world will eventually crush you.

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Paul Auster

The truth of the story lies in the details.

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Paul Auster

Farts come from no one and nowhere; they are anonymous emanations that belong to the group as a whole, and even when every person in the room can point to the culprit, the only sane course of action is...

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Paul Auster

but even the facts do not always tell the truth

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Paul Auster

Solitary. But not in the sense of being alone. Not solitary in the way Thoreau was, for example, exiling himself in order to find out where he was; not solitary in the way Jonah was, praying for deliverance...

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Paul Auster

We are all aliens to ourselves, and if we have any sense of who we are, it is only because we live inside the eyes of others.

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Paul Auster

You find the book in the process of doing it. That's the adventure of the job.

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Paul Auster

Eighteen is a terrible age, and while I walked around with the conviction that I was somehow more grown-up than my classmates, the truth was that I had merely found a different way of being young.

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Paul Auster

Becoming a writer is not a 'career decision' like becoming a doctor or a policeman. You don't choose it so much as get chosen, and once you accept the fact that you're not fit for anything else, you have...

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Paul Auster

Paintings. Or the collapse of time in images.

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Paul Auster

We are left with nothing but death, the irreducible fact of our own mortality. Death after a long illness we can accept with resignation. Even accidental death we can ascribe to fate. But for a man to...

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Paul Auster

Each time he took a walk, he felt as though he were leaving himself behind, and by giving himself up to the movement of the streets, by reducing himself to a seeing eye, he was able to escape the obligation...

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Paul Auster

You think it will never happen to you, that it cannot happen to you, that you are the only person in the world to whom none of these things will ever happen, and then, one by one, they all begin to happen...

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Paul Auster

We all want to believe in impossible things, I suppose, to persuade ourselves that miracles can happen.

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Paul Auster

As long as a man had the courage to reject what society told him to do, he could live life on his own terms. To what end? To be free. But free to what end? To read books, to write books, to think.

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Paul Auster

It often happens that things are other than what they seem, and you can get yourself into trouble by jumping to conclusions.

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Paul Auster

The story is not in the words; it's in the struggle.

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Paul Auster

No one was to blame for what happened, but that does not make it any less difficult to accept. It was all a matter of missed connections, bad timing, blundering in the dark. We were always in the right...

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Paul Auster

Writing begins in the body, it is the music of the body, and even if the words have meaning, can sometimes have meaning, the music of the words is where the meanings begin....Writing as a lesser form of...

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Paul Auster

We exist for ourselves, perhaps, and at times we even have a glimmer of who we are, but in the end we can never be sure, and as our lives go on, we become more and more opaque to ourselves, more and more...

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Paul Auster

and now we get to the hard part. the endings, the farewells, and the famous last words. if you don't hear from me often, remember that you're in my thoughts.

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Paul Auster

All children are love children, he said, but only the best ones are ever called that.

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Paul Auster

Wounds are an essential part of life, and until you are wounded in some way, you cannot become a man.

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Paul Auster

All men contain several men inside them, and most of us bounce from one self to another without ever knowing who we are.

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Paul Auster

Existence was bigger than just life. It was everyone's life all together, and even if you lived in Buffalo, New York and had never been more than ten miles from home, you were part of the puzzle, too....

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Paul Auster

When a person is lucky enough to live inside a story, to live inside an imaginary world, the pains of this world disappear. For as long as the story goes on, reality no longer exists.

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Paul Auster

Memory is the space in which a thing happens for a second time.

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Paul Auster

And that's why books are never going to die. It's impossible. It's the only time we really go into the mind of a stranger, and we find our common humanity doing this. So the book doesn't only belong to...

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Paul Auster

I had jumped off the edge, and then, at the very last moment, something reached out and caught me in midair. That something is what I define as love. It is the one thing that can stop a man from falling,...

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Paul Auster

Something happens, Blue thinks, and then it goes on happening forever. It can never be changed, can never be otherwise.

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Paul Auster

Every life is inexplicable, I kept telling myself. No matter how many facts are told, no matter how many details are given, the essential thing resists telling. To say that so and so was born here and...

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Paul Auster

The pen will never be able to move fast enough to write down every word discovered in the space of memory. Some things have been lost forever, other things will perhaps be remembered again, and still other...

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Paul Auster

He no longer wished to be dead. At the same time, it cannot be said that he was glad to be alive. But at least he did not resent it. He was alive, and the stubbornness of this fact had little by little...

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Paul Auster

Stories only happen to those who are able to tell them.

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Paul Auster

It seems to me that I will always be happy in the place where I am not.

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Paul Auster

you can survive only if nothing is necessary to you

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Paul Auster

To leave the world a little better than you found it. That's the best a man can ever do.

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Paul Auster

Yes, she is in love with him, and yes, in spite of his qualms and inner hesitations, he loves her back, however improbable that might seem to him. Note here for the record that he is not someone with a...

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Paul Auster

I've been trying to fit everything in, trying to get to the end before it's too late, but I see now how badly I've deceived myself. Words do not allow such things. The closer you come to the end, the more...

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“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

― Dr. Seuss